2006 Record: 62-100
Last in the AL Central – 34 games back
New Blue Bloods:
Brian Bannister (SP) Trade from Mets
Octavio Dotel (RP)
Ross Gload (1B/OF) from White Sox
Jason LaRue (C) from
Gil Meche (SP) FA from Mariners
David Riske (RP)
Dropping the Sceptre:
Paul Bako (C)
Ambirox Burgos (RP) Trade to Mets
Runelvys Hernandez (RP)
Doug Mienkiewicz (1B)
Mark Redman (SP)
Andy Sisco (RP)
Mike Wood (RP)
Are the Royals going to be this year’s version of the 2006 Tigers? Not a chance, this team will struggle to avoid losing 100 games and will probably fail at that. That’s not to say that they haven’t taken some desperate measures (spending $55 million for Gil Meche – talk about desperation) to try to get better. However it’s going to take a number of years of free spending owners and farm system development for this team to become credible enough that big skill free agents are going to want to play here. Until then Royals fans (and I think I’ve met all five of you) will have to be content with small steps forward.
Strengths: Strength is a relative term when it comes to the Royals, so we’ll consider strength to be an improvement when compared to last year. That’ll mean that we’ll count pitching as a strength – not because it’s good but because the team went out spent some money and brought in a long term proven Major League pitcher, albeit not a great one, in Gil Meche, acquired a promising Major League ready pitching talent in Brian Bannister and still has one of the most promising pitching talents in the game Zack Grienke who’ll step back into the rotation. Provided Grienke is ready to return (he missed most of last season for personal reasons, or problems) that could give the Royals a cornerstone upon which to really build. Of course the rest of the rotation made up of Odalis Perez, Jorge De La Rosa, Scott Elarton and Luke Hudson is decidedly uninspiring but can pitch better than they’ve shown in the past.
New closer Octavio Dotel is a huge improvement over last year and should help the Royals improve by at least a couple of games too.
Weaknesses: Offense. This might be the least proven offense in the AL Central at the moment but it’s clearly a work in progress. The only solid player in the lineup is Mark Teahen who is developing into a fine Major Leaguer and has .300-25 potential. The development of David DeJesus is coming along nicely and if he can turn some of his 36 doubles from last season into home runs he might well become the Carlos Beltran type player he was projected to be. However after DeJesus the lineup is all about potential –youngsters Ryan Shealy hasn’t proven himself yet, and rookie Alex Gordon who has been likened to George Brett and Albert Pujols hasn’t yet played a Major League game.
Defense, the infield is solid enough but outfield defense could be a problem here.
David DeJesus (CF)
Mark Grudzielanek (2B)
Mark Teahen (RF)
Reggie Sanders/ Emil Brown (LF)
Mike Sweeney (DH)
Ryan Shealy (1B)
Alex Gordon (3B)
Jason LaRue (C)
Tony Pena (SS)
Jorge De La Rosa
Keys to success: Play better, develop players, regain credibility for a few years down the road.Prediction: The Royals are a lock for dead last in the division and even not losing 100 games would have to be considered a successful season – however they have a chance, albeit a slight one to do better than that. There is a lot of young talent here but it needs more seasoning and not to get mentally crushed by all of the losing that the Royals are going to do this season.
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